Tom Kurvers was an intelligent offensive defenseman. He was not a puck rusher so much as was an outstanding passer and a smart though not overpowering shooter from the point. He had good mobility, anticipation and vision. He was a solid choice to quarterback a power play. Though he had good size, Kurvers was not a physical player.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he scored 175 points in four seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth between 1980 and 1984 where he majored in communications. He was an excellent student. He was named to the National Honor Society in his last year of high school, and earned a MBA degree part time while playing in the NHL.
Kurvers was also heady on the ice. In his senior year he was named as the Hobey Baker Award winner as the top collegiate player. Kurvers turned pro with the Montreal Canadiens in 1984-85. Playing regularly with Chris Chelios, Kurvers scored 45 points. Kurvers numbers slipped a bit in year two, and he was traded at the beginning of the 1986-87 season to the Buffalo Sabres for a 2nd round draft pick. He struggled to find his game in Buffalo, scoring just 23 points.
The summer of 1987 saw Kurvers join the New Jersey where he found his game. His offense was a major spark in the Devils improbable playoff run that finished one game short of the Stanley Cup final. That year Kurvers was the second-highest scoring blueliner in the post-season with 15 points in nineteen games. The next year he recorded a personal high 66 points but, by 1989-90, Bruce Driver emerged as the Devils top defenseman, making Kurvers expendable.
Early in the 1989-90 season, Kurvers was shipped to Toronto for a first-round pick that became Scott Niedermayer. The trade was much maligned, as Toronto was at or near the bottom of the league most of the season and nearly cost the Leafs a chance at Eric Lindros. Regardless, Niedermayer turned out to be arguably as good a pick if not better.
Kurvers meanwhile began a vagabond career. He was dispatched to Vancouver in 1990-91 and later played with the New York Islanders and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He left the NHL and played the 1995-96 season in Tokyo
With 421 points in 659 career games, Kurvers proved to be an effective player. He was never an elite offensive defenseman, and only average defensively, hence the frequent address changes.
In retirement Kurvers experimented with radio broadcasting before becoming a scout.